Kosovo has declared independence and America will recognize it as a state. Consequently, Russia will eventually make us pay a high price in other aspects of our national security portfolio for this international sleight-of-hand.
What saddens me is that I have learned from a source close to the Kremlin that the Russians secretly suggested a road map and time table for Kosovo independence to the Bush administration. The Russians would never have been pleased with Kosovo going it alone — but there were things to manage Russian issues with Georgia, Serbia, Kosovo and the region that could have been simultaneously managed to keep both sides from undermining the other.
The Russians believe that their suggestions were ignored because the U.S. wanted to be able to declare a victory — which is harder to do when negotiating outcomes that are face-saving to both sides.
America and NATO will now be in less of a position to help Georgia and other former Eastern European states and the US may pay a price in its ability to forge a common position with Russia on Iran.
For some excellent commentary on these issues, read Dimitri Simes’ piece in Foreign Affairs titled “Losing Russia” as well as this exchange between Simes and Frank Wisner on Kosovo, and these comments from my colleague Anatol Lieven.
— Steve Clemons